House bill on mandatory bank secrecy waiver for gov’t officials, workers refiled

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PROGRESSIVE groups have refiled a bill mandating public officials and employees to execute a bank secrecy waiver that will allow the Ombudsman to look into all their deposits.   

House Bill 1220, which seeks to amend Republic Act 6713 or an Act Establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, adds an additional exception to the Bank Secrecy Law or RA 1405.  

“To fulfill existing laws, additional measures to ensure that public officials and employees adhere to the highest ethical standards are needed,” states the bill filed by ACT Teachers Rep. France L. Castro, Gabriela Women’s Rep. Arlene D. Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel.  

“Despite deterrents already in place like the annual filing of the Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN), some public officials and employees still find ways to hide undeclared income,” they said. “This in turn hampers transparent governance and anti-corruption mechanisms.”  

The proposed measure aims to combat one of the “most common legal loopholes” in the secrecy of bank deposits which becomes a cloak against the authority of the Ombudsman and its deputies as protectors of public trust.  

The same bill was previously filed in the 17th and 18th Congress. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan